New York City Mayor Eric Adams angered secularists recently when he spoke at an interfaith breakfast event. After his closest aide, Ingrid Lewis-Martin, introduced him as someone who “doesn’t believe” in separation of church and state, her boss took the stage and said, “Ingrid is so right.” “Don’t tell me about no separation of church and state. State is the body. Church is the heart. You take the heart out of the body, the body dies.”
Adams continued this line of thought, saying, “I can’t separate my belief because I’m an elected official.” He then made an observation that was just as contentious. “When we took prayers out of schools, guns came into schools.”
As expected, this didn’t sit well with left-wing secularists and their religious next of kin. Rabbi Abby Stein, who is an LGBT activist, said Adams’ remarks were “unhinged and dangerous.” Donna Lieberman of the New York Civil Liberties Union, a militant secular organization, said his comments left her “speechless.”
Fabien Levy, a spokesman for Adams, said that Adams was merely trying to show that faith guides his actions. That is no doubt true. Adams has been in office long enough for us to know if he was literally attempting to abridge the First Amendment rights of New Yorkers.
It is paradoxical, to say the least, to hear left-wing activists hyperventilate over Adams’ speech. The fact is there is a very real threat to separation of church and state these days, and it is coming from organizations like the ACLU: they are using the state to encroach on the rights of the faithful. It is not the church that is busy abridging the rights of the state; it is the other way around.
When secularists like the ACLU lobby for the Equality Act—which would allow the state to tell Catholic doctors and hospitals that they must perform abortions and sex-reassignment surgeries—they are showing contempt for separation of church and state.
Secular activists pose the real constitutional threat, not Mayor Adams.